McCaffrey Family Roots
The History & Genealogy of Hugh & Mary DeHart McCaffrey and their Descendants
(including McCaffery, McCaffree, McCaffry, McCoffrey, McCafferty, McAfrey, etc.)
Mac Caffrey - Gaelic
Dedicated to the Memory of our Honored Pioneer Ancestors
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), the scientist, inventor, printer, diplomat, postmaster,
author and vaccine inoculation advocate wrote:
"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest" & "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn"
Ben was also an avid amateur genealogist & family historian. His wisdom applies to successful research and, more importantly, a successful life.
Hosted by Dave Woody
(A link to the McCaffrey database & pedigree is located at
the end of the historical section)
We were very lucky that the research into the origins of our McCaffrey ancestors led us to the McCaffreys of Loudoun County, Virginia, since the records of Loudoun are more extensive than almost any other Virginia county. Later we found that Hugh and Mary DeHart McCaffrey were married 7 Oct 1741 in the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Much later, we where also very fortunate to find Hugh McCaffrey in early Berks County, Pennsylvania which was created from Philadelphia County in 1752. The records of Berks are quite numerous and most can be viewed online at the FamilySearch site. Although we cannot yet prove the parents of Mary DeHart, we have rank ordered the most likely candidates. Also, since yDNA has proven the Hugh and William McCaffrey of Loudoun are very closely related so we have widened the focus of McCaffrey Family Roots to include the descendants of both of these men.
Hugh & Mary DeHart McCaffrey of Berks County, Pennsylvania
On the left is a snippit from the original Register of Baptisms, Births and
Marriages used by the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania from 1701 to 1746. The register is the oldest record of the oldest
Presbyterian Church in
North America and the snippet on the left documents
the 7 October 1741 marriage of Hugh McCaffrey and Mary DeHart. There are
no other McCaf* or DeHart records in the register. The church was erected in
1704 on the corner of High (now Market)
and Bank Streets and, at that time, was
know as "Old Buttonwood". The image on the right is an unknown artist's
depiction of the church at that time. Long before he became Postmaster General
of the United States, Benjamin Franklin attended this church. The church
enlarged, torn down and rebuilt several times over the years and much later, a
new church was built at a different location; however, this image probably
represents the basic structure where Hugh and Mary were married. Church records
note the "influx of Presbyterian immigrants into Philadelphia, particularly 100
Irish from Belfast in 1736". Hugh could well have been on the ship that brought
this group. The more recent LDS FamilySearch expanded viewing policy related to
images of public records is the main reason that we have made some
progress in determining the parents of Mary DeHart. Based on the online
Pennsylvania county formation dates and tax records, we quickly found that Hugh
McCaffrey was taxed in the very first Amity Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania
tax record of 1752 and again in 1754, 1758, 1760, 1761 and finally in 1765. On 1
March, 1752, Berks County, Pennsylvania was created from parts of Chester,
Lancaster and northwestern end of Philadelphia Counties. The boundaries of Amity are nearly identical to the
boundaries of the 10,000 acre " Swedes' Tract" which William Penn created in
the 1765 Berks tax record, Hugh's occupation was listed as
a tailor; however, his name was lightly lined over and no tax was assessed, indicating that he had
recently left the county. One year later, in 1766,
Hugh was recorded in Loudoun County, Virginia. In 1729, Elias DeHart purchased 600
acres in the Swedes' Tract area and in 1734 both Elias and his son Simon were
taxed there. On 3
March 1744, Simon and Gilbert DeHart signed a petition that asked a Philadelphia
court to reaffirm the validity of Amity Township which was originally created in
Swedes' Tract in 1719. So, it would seem logical that Mary DeHart was the
daughter of one of the early Amity Township DeHart settlers and, although many
DeHart records exist, proving Mary's parents has been an imposing task, but
I have narrowed her candidate fathers down to three closely related men. At
present, I rank order the father candidates of Mary in this order: 1. Simon
Dehart, the son of Elias DeHart Sr., 2. Cornelius DeHart, the son of Gysbert
DeHart, the brother of Elias DeHart Sr. and 3. Elias DeHart Sr. The DeHart story
is long and complicated and since it may be of only minor interest to McCaf*
researchers, I have moved the story to a separate page.
Chick here to read about the interesting DeHart
Family and the research involved in reaching my evaluation of the father
candidates for Mary DeHart McCaffrey
Very Early McCaffrey Records in Loudoun County, Virginia
In the twenty or so years since we discovered the first significant McCaffrey
records in Loudoun County, Virginia, we have discovered a few more records and
have become more proficient at the interpretation of these records. The
following overview of the Loudoun County, Virginia McCaffreys is based on new
evidence and a reevaluation of the combined new and older evidence. The sources
of all evidence are included in the McCaffrey Family Roots Database which may be accessed
by clicking on the large Database link near the bottom of this page. Most
importantly, we have concluded that there is enough evidence to prove that Hugh
McCaffrey was the father of James McCaffrey. We have also concluded that the
William McCaffrey that also lived in Loudoun County in the latter 1700s was
another son of Hugh McCaffrey.
In 1757, Loudoun County, Virginia was carved from the western section of Fairfax County. When Loudoun was formed, the Cameron Parish of Fairfax was extended into Loudoun and included the entire county until 1770 when Shelburne Parish was created in western Loudoun. The parish and tithe system ended in 1786 as a result of the Revolutionary War. The northern border of Loudoun County and Maryland is formed by the Potomac River and many of the first settlers in Loudoun crossed this river from Maryland. It is here in Loudoun that the McCaffrey name is found on parish tithable and personal property lists from 1767 to 1822. The snippit on the left comes from the "List of Tithables taken by Leven Powell, gent. for 1768". This McCaffery entry in the list of tithables is extremely significant. By Virginia law and custom, all males over 16 years of age were tithable and the first person listed was responsible for payment of the tithe(s). Hugh and James were also listed together in 1767, but in 1769 until 1787 James was tithed/taxed alone and from from 1788 until 1809 James was taxed with one or more of his taxable male children. From this tax data we can determine James' birth date as about 1746. Also, since the McCaffreys were not tithed until 1767, it would seem that they had moved from another location about that time. This assumption is somewhat confirmed by the extant 1749 Fairfax County, Virginia Tithable List on which there are no McCaffrey, etc. listings. On September 9, 1768, William Savage and his wife Margaret sold property on Goose Creek to James Leith. Part of this property was described as "whereon Hugh McCaffrey now liveth". Apparently some friction arose between Hugh and James Leith because in March 1769, Hugh initiated a court action against Mr. Leith for assault and battery. The dispute seems to have settled amicably because both parties agreed to a dismissal. From 1770 until 1777, James McCaffrey was employed in Shelburne Parish as an overseer by Leven Powell, who had moved to Loudoun in 1763 and later purchased from Joseph Chinn the land that became the town of Middleburg in 1787. Middleburg is southern Loudoun and quite near the Fauquier County border. The Chinns were already prominent Loudoun plantation owners since Joseph's father had received a 3300 acre land grant in 1731 from Lord Fairfax and their home also served as an Ordinary (Inn and/or Tavern) which still exists today as the well known Red Fox Inn in Middleburg. The image on the right is a snippet from a map of "Loudoun County Virginia" surveyed by Yardley Taylor and published in 1854. About this time in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, William McCaffrey, the great-grandson of Hugh McCaffrey, submitted his War of 1812 bounty land claim and stated that he had joined the Virginia Militia in 1814 at Pot House, Loudoun County as a substitute for Elijah Anderson. Today, the unincorporated village of Pot House (Leithtown) can be found in the vicinity of the intersection of Fox Croft (SR 626) and Pot House (SR 745) roads. On the map, notice Pot House, Goose Creek, Middleburg and the residences of the Leiths, Chinns and Powells. Besides the Powells and Chinns, two other prominent Loudoun County surnames were Ellzey and Bailey. Since James McCaffrey named a son Bailey and, in turn, Bailey named a son Elzy, there is probably some connection between the families, but we have failed to find it. Although Hugh McCaffrey was not tithed after 1768, we assume that this was because he considered infirm since he was involved in Loudoun court proceeding on September 10, 1770.
During this period, a William McCaffrey was noted as a tithable in neighboring Cameron Parish from 1771 until 1785 when he seemed to disappear from Loudoun records. Since no other male tithables were enumerated with William or in Cameron Parish, we concluded he did not have any male children that achieved the age of sixteen before his disappearance. However, when the complete images of all the Loudoun records became available online we discovered a most unusual and important list that had not been included with the published Loudoun tithable and tax lists for Cameron Parish. This 1783 document is titled "A List of the Number of Soles taken by James Coleman" and is more like a census than a tithable list. This list shows William McCaffrey with nine white soles and zero negro soles in 1783. This means that their were eight other members of William's household that were either female or males under sixteen years of age. The last Loudoun record involving William was a 1786 court case which was terminated because he failed to appear, but did not mentioned that the reason was his death as court cases usually do. Since we have never found a McCaffrey in Loudoun that we could not attribute to the family of James McCaffrey, this discovery led us to reevaluate the other meager evidence that might relate to this William McCaffrey and this research led to more evidence that seems to solve the mystery of William McCaffrey of Loudoun. The rest of this story is related in the section below entitled "William McCaffrey of Loudoun County, Virginia and Fayette & Scott Counties Kentucky"
We have concluded that James and William McCaffrey were the sons of Hugh. William seemed to have removed from Loudoun, but unlike the records for James the Cameron Parish, Loudoun records do not record the names of his wife or children. James had seven sons that survived to be taxed with him: Robert, William, James Jr., Thomas, John, Bailey and Levi. The snippet on the left is a portion of the 1810 Loudoun County census showing Baily and John McCafry. The older James McCafry lived nearby, but he seems to have died about 1811. Only two Loudoun County McCaffrey marriages have been located. On December 31, 1802, John McCaffey and Nancy Pettit were married by the Methodist minister, John Littlejohn. On November 7, 1822, the Rev. William Williamson married Ira McAfrey and Sarah Martin. The Rev. Williamson was a Scotch Presbyterian who also had a boarding school in Middleburg.
We are quite accustomed to the lack of meaningful Colonial records in much of Virginia, so we feel very fortunate to have discovered the early tithable and tax records of Loudoun County. These records provide almost perfect evidence of the names and approximate birth dates of sons of James and Nancy McCaffrey. In birth order, they were Robert, William, James, Thomas, John, Bailey and Levi. Our research has shown that Robert and James moved to the Wilson County, Tennessee area, John and Bailey moved to the Belmont County, Ohio area and Thomas moved to the Breckinridge County, Kentucky area. All had left Loudoun before 1828 when Levi was taxed for the last time. These families and their descendants are discussed below and in the Database; however, the events concerning William, Levi and their families are much more uncertain. In our efforts to establish the exact connection between the Loudoun McCaffreys and the McCaffrees, McAffreys and McCaffertys of Kentucky and Tennessee, we have tried to determine the fate of the descendants of William and Levi McCaffrey and their descendants. The very complicated details of this research and our assumptions are presented here.
Since the early Berks and Loudoun McCaffreys were not freeholders (landowners), we assume that they may have arrived in America as indentured servants or were "transported" because of some civil/political/religious offense in Ireland. For instance, in 1738 and 1740, Knogh and Owen McCaffrey were convicted of being "vagabonds" (homeless) and transported from Ireland. Earlier, the 1663 Donegal Hearth Money Rolls list the names of Conner m'Caffrey, Patrick m'Caffery and Donnell boy m'Cafferty.
Bailey, Elza, Washington, Albert & Ira McCaffrey
in Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe & Noble Counties, Ohio
(Bailey, son of James of Loudoun)
In 1827, Bailey and Washington McCaffrey
were enumerated in a special Belmont County, Ohio census as white males over
twenty one. Belmont County is in east central Ohio near the Ohio River and was
first settled about 1802. Guernsey, Monroe and Noble counties were later spun
off from Belmont and it was in this area that a large number of McCaffreys lived
in fairly close proximity. A comparison of census records shows that many other
Loudoun County residents joined in the migration to Ohio. Belmont was originally
called Wrightstown, after the founder Joseph Wright, and was laid out on the
plan of Dublin, Ireland. Some of the first settlers were Hogues, McKessons,
Groves, Wrights, Greggs, Dillions, Hollingsworths, Trails, Calhouns and
McCaffreys. A McCaffrey owned a stage tavern called the "Good Intent" on the Old Pike (later called the
National Road) east of St. Clairsville, one of the oldest towns in Ohio.
About 1840, the Methodists erected a log meeting house south of Middleburg which
latter became the Middleburg Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation
included a McCaffrey family. In 1833, Albert McCaffrey and Elizabeth Galloway
were married in Belmont. Both stated that they lived in Kirkwood Township and
Bailey McCaffrey provided surety. In that same year, Bailey McCaffrey was taxed
in Hendrysburg, Kirkwood Township. Additionally, George Buchanan, who had
married Nancy, the widow of James Galloway in 1824, was taxed in Kirkwood
Township. In 1826, George Buchanan had arranged for John Davenport to become the
legal guardian of three of the minor children of James (deceased) and Nancy
Galloway. Elizabeth Galloway was not included in this arrangement because she
was about twenty-four and most likely living with George and Nancy McCaffrey
Buchanan, her mother. The 1830 Ohio census lists John McCoffrey, Ira
McCofrey and Hugh McCaffery in Belmont County and Washington McKaffy in Morgan
County. The 1840 Monroe County census lists Bailey and Albert, living near each
other in Hendrysburg, which was founded c. 1826 and located on the Old Pike.
Also, Elza and Washington were enumerated living side-by-side in Monroe County.
The 1850 Monroe census lists Baily, age 68, born in Virginia, wife Lydia, also
born in Virginia and one daughter. Two homes away were Elzy, age 38, born in
Virginia, wife Martha (Savage) and six children. (William) Ira McCaffrey, age
45, born in Virginia, wife Sarah, age 45, born in Virginia and two children
resided in St. Clairsville, Belmont County. On May 30, 1846, shortly after the
beginning of the Mexican War, Ira and James McCaffrey responded to President
Polk's call for volunteers and joined Co. D, 3rd Ohio Regiment of Infantry.
This unit later served in Monterey and Buena Vista, Mexico. In the early 1850s,
most of these McCaffrey's pulled up stakes again and moved on; some to Lawrence
County, Ohio and others to Adams County, Illinois.
There is no doubt that these McCaffreys migrated to Belmont County along with many other former Loudoun County, Virginia residents. Sorting out the relationships is another matter. We know that Washington McCaffrey died intestate in 1845 and that Elza and Albert moved with Bailey to Lawrence County, Ohio. Some of John's children and grand children moved to Adams County, Illinois.
Based on tax records of Loudoun County, Virginia, we know that Bailey and John were the sons of James. James also had sons Thomas, Robert, James, Levi and William. Elza, Albert and Washington were the sons of Bailey. Based on the 1850 census, William Ira and John P. appear to be the sons of John, but Ira and Washington might be reversed. We surmise that there is some close connection to the Baileys and Ellzeys of Loudoun; however, onsite research in Loudoun County, Virginia and Belmont, Monroe and Lawrence Counties, Ohio has not resulted in any evidence of such a connection.
After some twenty years of research, we have finally discovered most of the story surrounding the death of Washington McCaffrey, as well as, the names of his surviving children. As his children looked on, Washington was murdered in his home in Steinersville, Belmont County, Ohio on December 12, 1845. The names of these children were Hannah, Lydia, Virginia, Missouri, Chloe and Adam Clark. Washington's widow Maria soon remarried, but she was widowed again in 1849. By 1856, Maria and four of her children had moved to Appanoose County, Iowa. The details of this story and the subsequent marriages and lives of some of the children can be found by using the Database link below.
Bailey, Elsey, Albert,
George & William McCaffrey
in Lawrence County, Ohio
(Bailey, sons of James of Loudoun)
Many miles down the Ohio River is the
county of Lawrence in extreme southern Ohio. It is here that we next find the
families of Elsey, Albert, Bailey, George and William McCaffrey in the census of
1860. We have no idea why they moved again so soon, but they did. They are all
listed as farmers in the census. The land in Lawrence is quite hilly and
less suitable for farming than the rolling terrain in and around Belmont. As
family farming rapidly became less and less economically feasible, the McCaffreys did as many of their neighbors and moved to larger towns and cities
to find work. Several crossed the Ohio River to Huntington, West Virginia and
raised families. One of the first to leave farming was my great grandfather
William Sullivan McCaffrey. He was a well know merchant and his store and home
were located near the center of Bartramville, Union Township, Lawrence County,
Ohio. The image on the left is from The Atlas of Lawrence County Ohio, published by D. J. Lake & Co.,
Philadelphia, 1887 and shows the location of the residence and store of William
Sullivan McCaffrey. The caption on the map border reads, "W. S. McCaffrey,
Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Hats, Caps, Boots and Shoes, Hardware, Queensware, Cutlery, Notions, Clothing, Cigars, Tobacco and all goods usually
kept in a first-class country store". Adjacent to the McCaffrey property was the
farm of Stephen P. Smith, brother to William's wife, Jeanette Smith McCaffrey.
The Lawrence County Ohio township maps have been republished as the Hardesty
Lake Atlas of Lawrence County, Ohio. This and other books can be purchased from
the Lawrence County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 945, Ironton, Ohio
45638-0945. William S. McCaffrey was a veteran of the Civil War and his
pension papers mention a family Bible. This Bible has not been located.
William S. and Jeanette Smith McCaffrey were the parents of William Berton (Bert) McCaffrey. Bert was attending the West Virginia University law school in 1896 when he and several other of his classmates heeded President William McKinley's call for military volunteers to support the Spanish-American War. Bert enlisted as a private in Company D, 1st West Virginia Infantry on 13 May 1898. He soon passed a difficult aptitude test and became an Acting Hospital Steward in the United States Army Hospital Corps which had been organized in 1886. Of the 600 privates that were tested, only 24 passed. By August of the same year, Bert was serving in Guayama, Puerto Rico and he was discharged in San Juan 7 November 1898. Bert and Effie McCorkle were married 16 Jul 1902 in Union Chapel, Union Township, Lawrence County, Ohio. On 16 February 1924, Bert applied for his military pension and he died 7 March 1933 in the Veterans Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. An image of an 1898 photo of Bert McCaffrey in his Steward's uniform is on the right.
John, Ira & Edward McCaffrey in Adams County, Illinois
(John, son of James of Loudoun)
McCaffrey and Delila Porter were married October 2, 1845 in Belmont County,
Ohio, but we are not completely certain if the groom was John of Loudoun or his
son John P. McCaffrey. Either way, John and Delila had three children before
John apparently died c. 1851. Delila's age seems to indicate that she was the 2nd
wife of John of Loudoun County, but there is strong evidence to the contrary.
Delila soon moved with their three children from Belmont to Adams County,
Illinois where she married Frederick Bender on December 27, 1853. Delila seems
to have accompanied William and Sara Jane McCaffrey Ayres, the assumed daughter
of John of Loudoun. A few years later, William Ira McCaffrey and his son Edward
moved to the same area. Ira was the assumed son of John McCaffrey of Loudoun and
the brother of the abovementioned Sarah Jane. In 1862, Edward enlisted in the 78th
Illinois Infantry, participated in this unit’s Civil War engagements and was
discharged in 1865. To see the details that are known about John and Delila,
click here. Any information concerning
these individuals will be appreciated.
James, Robert & John
McCaffrey in Wilson County, Tennessee
(James & Robert, sons of James of Loudoun)
The first record of an identifiable Loudoun County, Virginia McCaffrey in
Tennessee is in 1828, when James McCaffrey purchased land on Smith/Smith's
Fork in southern Wilson County near Statesville. Smith Fork is a tributary
of the Caney River, which in turn, feeds the Cumberland River.
James' brother, Robert, purchased land nearby in 1836. On the right is a
small portion of an 1836 map entitled "A New Map of Tennessee", engraved by
J. & W. W. Warr and published by H. S. Tanner. James and Robert were the
sons of James McCaffrey Sr. of Loudoun County, Virginia and both made an
intermediate stop in Halifax County, Virginia where James married Anna
Bailey in 1803. Both men had children that were married in Halifax before
they moved to Tennessee. It seems that Thomas, the
brother of James and Robert, also lived for a while in
Halifax. Thomas moved to Kentucky and is described in the next section. John
(bc 1800), the oldest son of Robert, also lived in Halifax and later moved to Tennessee with James and Robert.
In 1843, John McCaffrey purchased property on Smith
Fork near his father and uncle. This is likely the same person that had married Lavinia Ward in 1828
and, in 1845, he and Lavinia conveyed their portion of the estate of Lavinia's
father to her brother. Next, John apparently married Penelope Kelly in 1848
and finally Rebecca Talley in 1852. In 1860, John sold his land on Smith Fork and he seems to have died
before 1869 when Rebecca received a "widow's allotment" in Wilson County.
The State of Tennessee was created in 1796 from the "Territory of the U.S. South of the River Ohio", a vast area ceded by North Carolina to the United States government at the end of the Revolutionary War. Beginning in 1783, Bounty Land Warrants were issued by North Carolina and Congress as compensation for military service and other reasons. These warrants were transferable and this attribute attracted land speculators and created land frauds on a enormous scale. Bounty land also fueled a mass migration to Tennessee, but most of the original warrant holders sold their awards to speculators and, in turn, these warrants could have been sold and resold several times before the land was actually settled on. Wilson County was established in late 1799 by taking the southern portion of Sumner County, which borders on Kentucky. The Cumberland River now forms the border between Wilson and Sumner Counties. Adjacent to Wilson to the west is Davidson County, the location of Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. Tennesseans know this area as "Middle Tennessee".
James McCaffrey died about 1852 and Robert died about 1856. Both men left wills, as did Robert's son Levi. John McCaffrey died about 1868. Apparently, James did not leave any surviving male descendants, but both Levi and John did. Any information concerning this family will be appreciated.
Thomas McCaffrey in Meade & Breckinridge Counties,
(Son of James of Loudoun)
In 1783, the District of Kentucky, including the counties of Fayette, Lincoln and Jefferson, was created by the Virginia
Legislature. When Congress created the state of Kentucky on June 1,1792, the
number of counties had increased to nine, including the fourth county of
Nelson, created in 1784. From 1810 until 1860, Thomas McCaffrey (and
variations) was the only person with that name to be enumerated in Kentucky
1808, Thomas McCaffrey married Margaret Finch in Bardstown, Nelson County,
Kentucky, but by the 1820 census, the couple had moved to Stephens Port,
Breckinridge County and by the 1830 census they were in adjacent
Brandenburg, Meade County. In the 1850 Meade County census, Thomas and
Margaret were enumerated as being born in Virginia in 1780 and 1785,
respectively. Thomas and Margaret both lived until after June 8, 1860 when
they were again enumerated in Meade County as being born in Virginia. Thomas
was enumerated as being born in 1772 and Margaret in 1777. These dates are in close agreement
with Thomas McCaffrey of Loudoun County, Virginia, who was first taxed as a
minor (18-21) with his father James in 1796. The census records indicate that
Thomas and Margaret
least five daughters and two sons; however, we have only identified four of the
daughters and neither of the sons. Breckinridge County Road Orders between
1814 and 1819 show that Thomas was a landowner in that county.
It appears that Thomas and Margaret are buried in the Saint Theresa Cemetery in Meade County; however, their well preserved tombstone inscriptions are in sharp conflict with fifty years of census information. The tombstone death date for Thomas is February 15, 1860 at age 107 and for Margaret the date is March 30, 1860 at age 95. These death dates were well before their 1860 censuses enumerations. The death ages imply that birth dates of 1753 and 1765, well out of the range of birth dates recorded from 1810 until 1860. The conflict of these dates is reinforced by the short biography for Thomas McCaffrey found in the Historical Sketches of Old St. Theresa's in Meade County, Kentucky, authored by John A. Lyons and published in 1950. The author notes that Thomas' tombstone is in the St. Theresa Cemetery and the above tombstone dates are repeated. He also adds that Thomas was "born in Ireland and emigrated in early manhood to the American colonies" and that Thomas was a Revolutionary War veteran. The writer implies that this information came from "Parish histories"; however, no other significant data is included. If Thomas was born in Ireland, the 1850 and 1860 census data does not support this assertion. Even more curious is that there is not one Revolution War record that refers to a Thomas McCaffrey. In 1832, Congress authorized pensions for Revolutionary War veterans, so Thomas had an abundance of time to apply for a pension, but there is no record of such an application. Also, if Thomas was a Revolutionary War veteran, he would have been entitled to at least one land warrant, but there is not a record of such a warrant. Since two of the daughters of Thomas and Margaret seem to be buried in the St. Theresa Cemetery, we assume that is the case for Thomas and Margaret McCaffrey, however, we strongly suspect that the tombstones were erected many years after the deaths of the couple and that the 1950 biography for Thomas is more legend than fact. However, a Thomas McCaffety/McCafferty is recorded as serving in the Kentucky militia for six months in 1813. It is possible that this War of 1812 service is the source of the biographical assertion.
Since none of the sons of Thomas and Margaret seem to have survived, there is not much interest in this lineage; however, there are probably living descendants of their daughters. Any information concerning this family will be appreciated.
William McCaffrey of
Loudoun County, Virginia and Fayette & Scott Counties, Kentucky
(Owen, Simon, Eleanor, Nancy & William W. McCaf*, children of William of Loudoun)
The reader may find the following discussion complicated and difficult to follow; however, it is our attempt at a simplified version of a very complicated research project. Many small facts from many sources have been acquired and used to produce the Kentucky McCaf* lineage. There are still a few unresolved questions and issues. More serious research may yield the answers to these situations. As usual, the source details are included in the Database,
Clark County, Kentucky was created 6 December, 1792 from Bourbon and Fayette
Counties. The first county court meeting was the March Term of 1793. One of the
first court orders was to appoint Margaret
McCaffrey. the wife of William McCaffrey, deceased and Owen McCaffrey administrators of estate of
said William McCaffrey, deceased. On 30 March,
1793, the personal estate of William McCaffrey was inventoried and appraised.
This estate contained many items of household furniture, farm implements and
farm animals probably indicating an above average farming home; however, we have
not found a record of land ownership or of the division, disbursement or sale of the likely real estate. If such property
existed, the widow Margaret would have been legally entitled to her dower of one
third of the total acreage and the rest should have been distributed between the
children of William. No records of such an estate settlement have been found. In
1782, William McCaf* sign a petition in Kentucky and he also was taxed in
Fayette County that year. He then seemed to return to Loudoun County, Virginia
and also may have lived in Augusta County, Virginia for a short time. His
next Fayette County tax record was in 1789 and 1791, not long before Clark
County was formed in 1792. Other Clark County records show that William and Margaret had a son William W.
McCaffrey, who was born about the same time that William Sr. died. Margaret was enumerated as age 93 and born in Virginia in
the 1850 Clark County, Kentucky census. She died in 1853 leaving a
will that led to the discovery of her father, Original Williams, who raised his
family in Cameron Parish, Loudoun County, Virginia, the home of her deceased
husband. Because of Margaret's birth date and the large time gap between the
birth date of her son William W. McCaffrey and the birth dates of the rest if
William's posited children, we have assumed that Margaret was not the mother of
these other children.
Eleanor McCaffrey Kennedy and her husband Michael Kennedy were married in Augusta County, Virginia on 12 Jan, 1786 and soon after, in 1787, they moved to Crab Orchard, on the Hanging Fork of the Dick's River in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Urban Ewing Kennedy, the youngest child of Eleanor and Michael became well known as writer of a series of sketches concerning the lives and customs of the early Kentucky settlers. He wrote that his parents moved to Lincoln County, Kentucky about a year after their marriage and that his mother had two brothers named Simon and Oliver. He also mentions that Simon McCaffrey was killed by Indians while serving as a guide for settlers from Virginia. Unfortunately, neither the time or place of Simon's death were mentioned nor were the the parents of Eleanor named. There is no mention of an Oliver McCaf* in Kentucky records, so we have assumed that naming Oliver was a memory lapse or transcription error and that Oliver was instead Owen, who was closely associated with Simon in more than a few Kentucky records. We have treated these particular assertions of Urban Kennedy as facts, including the assumption that the brother he named as Oliver, was in fact, named Owen. When we combine the evidence presented by Urban Kennedy with the evidence found concerning William McCaffrey Sr. and his son William W. McCaffrey of Clark County, we conclude that Owen, Simon and Eleanor McCaffrey were the children of William Sr. and that the McCaf* orphans found in early Green County were descendants of William McCaffrey Sr. While it is possible that some or all of these orphans were the children of William Sr., the the preponderance of evidence suggests that most or all were the children of Simon McCaffrey, the son of William Sr. When added to other significant evidence that includes descendants yDNA, we consider this research proof that the William McCaffrey that died in 1793 was the son of Hugh and Mary Dehart McCaffrey and the brother of James McCaffrey of Loudoun Co., Virginia.
Owen McCaffrey/McCaffree seems to be the Owen McCafferty that was recorded in 1781 as a member of the Augusta militia company of Captain Thomas Smith. According to Virginia law, Owen would have been at least sixteen years old and thus born before about 1765. He seemed to have obtained a substantial interest in the estate of William McCaffrey since on 31 October 1793 he had seventy pounds current money to purchase 380 acres on Butler's Fork of Russell Creek in Green County, Kentucky. Two facts seem apparent from inspecting images of the original indentures. First, since he signed the indenture as Owen McCaffree he was literate and second he was not married at the time since a wife was not named. Also, this is the first personal record of the McCaffree surname variation that we have found. By 1797, Owen had sold all of the land and his signature was on all the indentures. There was no deed clause addressing a release of a wife's dower rights. Shortly after his purchase, on 11 March 1794, Owen sold 100 acres to Simon McCaffree, who also signed his name. We posit that this Simon (Simon Jr.) was the son of the Simon McCaf* who was killed by Indians. We also suggest that Owen's 380 acre land purchase and subsequent 100 acre sale to Simon Jr. was the result of an estate settlement made after the death of William McCaffrey in late 1792. Simon Jr. was never recorded as paying a property tax or a personal property tax in Green County, even though he owned land there for several years. This situation would almost surely mean he was underage of twenty-one. The evidence of literacy continues with the will of James McCaffree, another posited son of Simon Jr. We also suggest that Owen shared in raising Simon Jr. and his siblings after Simon Sr. was killed. This assumption is reinforced by the 6 April 1795 Green County, Kentucky marriage license of Polly McCafferty and William Butler which describes Owin McCaffery as the guardian of Polly McCafferty/McCoffree.
Both Owen and a Simon McCaffree were involved in the events that followed the death of John Reynolds in 1795 Green County; however, the estate inventory and sale was delayed for any unusually long time and the recording of this event was delayed for an even longer period. After much research, we can suggest a very plausible scenario for the initial delay; however, the recording delay is still unexplained. In addition, we can find very little about John Reynolds in Kentucky and nothing about his life before he came to Kentucky. We believe that a better understanding of this story would probably add significantly to our understanding of the lives of Owen and Simon McCaffree. Because the details of these events are rather long and confusing, we have included them here for future researchers and historians to pursue. Any additional information will be appreciated.
William W. McCaffrey was about twenty-one when he was first recorded in the 1814 (bc 1793) Clark tax listings. In addition to his personal property tax, he was assessed for fifty acres of land that was located on Upper Howard's Creek. In 1815, he purchased an adjacent twenty-five acres from Joseph and Susan Combs and one of the deed witnesses was William Stewart, the husband of his mother's sister. So, the original fifty acres seems to have been associated with the estate of his father, William Sr.; however, it could have been the total real property, the widow's dower or even some other division. On 28 January, 1819, William married Sarah Stevens in Clark County and the 1830 Clark census enumerated William McCaffray and assumed wife, both in the 30/40 age group. Also enumerated with William were a male and female in the 10/15 age group. He is found in the Clark tax records through 1831 when he apparently died in July/August since the November 1831 Clark court records reveal that no one had applied to be the administrator of the estate of William W. McCaffery, who had died intestate about three months previously. The court ordered the sheriff to sell as much as possible of his estate at auction. We have not found any other court records relating specifically to the death of William; however, about a month later, on 24 October, 1831, Margaret McCaffy sold her interest in the estate of her deceased son, William W. McCaffray, to Sarah McCaffry for one dollar. Margaret was the widow of William McCaffrey Sr. who died in 1793 and Sarah was the widow of William W. McCaffrey. On 17 November, 1831, Wm & Jane McCaffrey of Floyd County, Indiana sold their interest in the estate of Wm McCaffery to Jno Daniel of Montgomery County, Kentucky. On the same day, John and Nancy McCaffray Hamilton of Monroe County, Indiana also sold their interest in the estate of William McCaffrey to John Daniel of Montgomery County, Kentucky. The only way that Margaret, the mother of William W. McCaffrey could have inherited part of his estate is if he had died intestate without any direct heirs. That is, he had died without a will and without any living children, grandchildren, etc. In that event, the inheritors of William's estate would have been his mother and his siblings and/or the children of his deceased siblings. So, William McCaffrey of Floyd, Indiana and the Nancy McCaffrey Hamilton of Monroe Indiana were the siblings of William W. McCaffrey and/or their children. This means the two children enumerated in the 1830 Clark Co., Kentucky census with William W. McCaffrey were either his and they had died before he did or they were his wife's or someone else's. The lack of evidence concerning an estate settlement suggests that Margaret and Sarah McCaffrey, with the possible help of the Clark County sheriff, made an unofficial settlement of the William W. McCaffrey estate which apparently was uncontested. We have concluded that the William McCaffrey of Floyd County, Indiana was the son of Simon McCaffrey Sr., deceased, who was a much older brother of William W. McCaffrey and that Nancy McCaffrey Hamilton who was a much older sister of William W. McCaffrey. William of Floyd was the subject of a 1801 Green County, Kentucky court case in which he was bound out to learn the stone mason trade. He was first taxed in Green in 1805 and was enumerated in the 1820 Floyd County, Indiana census. A John Hamilton and apparent wife are found in the 1840 Monroe County, Indiana census. John was in the 70/80 age bracket and his apparent wife was in the 60/70 age bracket (born 1770/1780). This couple did not seem to survive until the 1850 census; however, our search for John and Nancy Hamilton paid unexpected dividends when we searched the Madison County, Kentucky tax records. We found that John was taxed with 2 males in the 16/21 age bracket in 1798; however that bracket indicated zero in 1797. Checking the Madison court orders, we found a 2 May 1797 court proceeding that ordered John Hambelton "to shew cause why William McCaffrey an orphan child in his possession may not be bound out to some trade". We believe that the two younger males were James and William McCaffrey, orphans of Simon McCaffrey Sr. and the tax records show that they were born between 1777 and 1782. This evidence seems to prove that Nancy McCaffrey Hamilton was a daughter of William McCaffrey Sr. who died in 1793. The widow of William W. McCaffrey, Sarah Stevens McCaffrey, later married Edward Stewart and on 13 September 1834, she repurchased the entire interest in the William W. McCaffrey estate from John Daniel. Kentucky death records show that Sarah died in 1879. The 1850 Clark County census records show that she was born about 1799 in Virginia.
Margaret McCaffrey, the widow of William McCaffrey, died in Clark in 1853 at age about 97 and left a will dated in 1843. Her only inheritor was her sister Susan, wife of William Stuart/Stewart. The 1850 Clark census shows Margaret living with William and Susan Stuart. The Fayette County Kentucky records show that William Stewart and Susan Williams were married in 1803. Susan's brother Original Williams signed the marriage license and stated that their farther was dead. The 1800 Fayette tax records show an Original Williams Jr. that research shows to be the son of Original William Sr. of Cameron Parrish, Loudoun County, Virginia. So Margaret Williams, born about 1756 in Cameron Parish, Loudoun County, Virginia, was the widow of William McCaffrey Sr. who died in 1793. A William McCaffrey was listed many times in the tithable records of Cameron Parrish and seemed to have had a family consisting of six children in 1783. William was taxed in Fayette County in 1782, but like many other Kentucky settlers, he seemed to have returned to Loudoun County, Virginia for a short period, probably to prepare his family for their move to Kentucky. In about 1785, he again left Loudoun and probably lived in Augusta County Virginia for another short period. He also may have visited North Carolina for a short time before moving to Kentucky in about 1788.
The above mentioned data is consistent with the first McCaf* tax records found in Kentucky. The William McCaffrey Sr., mentioned above, was first taxed in 1782 in Fayette County. Owen McCaffrey and a Simon McAfferty were first taxed in 1789 and they were taxed on the same day in 1793 in Lincoln County. James and William McCaf*, the grandsons of William McCaffrey Sr., were first taxed in Green County in 1805, meaning that they had been born about 1783 while Kentucky was still part of Virginia. Kentucky became a state in 1792. Green County, Kentucky was formed in 1793 from portions of Nelson and Lincoln Counties. On March 11, 1794, Owen McCaffree of Green County sold 100 acres of land on Butler's Fork in Green County, Kentucky to Simon McCaffree of Lincoln County, Kentucky, then in 1 April, 1797, Simon of Green sold his 100 acres in Green to William Casey of Green for a small profit. Also in 1797, a Simon McCaffery was recorded in Lincoln County as a Private in the Sixth Regiment of the Kentucky Militia. This record means that he was born before 1781 and evidence shows that he was almost surely Simon Jr., assumed son of Simon Sr. Over the next several years, Owen sold three more tracts on Butler's Fork in Green with the last sale occurring on June 22, 1797. In 1802, Adair County was created from southern Green County and the Butler's Fork area became part of Adair. The marriage bond for the 6 April 1795 marriage of Polly McCoffree and William Butler in Green County is one of the most important documents found in this research. This bond shows that the bride's consent was given by Owin McCafferty, her guardian and this relationship indicates that Polly's father was almost surely dead. This excludes Owen as Polly's father and virtually proves that Simon was her father and dead before 6 April 1795. This bond was executed almost two years before 1797 when a Simon McCaffree sold his Green County land. The land sale and the marriage bond prove that the landowner was Simon McCaffree Jr; however, they do not prove the identity of the father of Simon Jr. We have picked Simon Sr. over Owen based on the fact that James McCaffree named a son Simeon. Like Polly, James was another orphan that lived in Green County and was about the same age as William McCaffrey, another proven orphan. On July 15, 1800, Becky McCafferty/McCoffree married Peter Dillingham in Green. We have not found anything to prove the parents of Becky, but we have arbitrarily assigned her as a daughter of Simon Sr. as we continue to do research.
1n 1807, an Owen and Simon McCaffrey were recorded in the Randolph County, Indiana Territory Census. Between 1801 and 1812, most of Randolph County was in the southern portion of what was termed "Illinois Country" which became Illinois Territory in 1809 and the state of Illinois in 1818. Much of Randolph, Illinois bordered the Ohio River, across from Kentucky and, in 1816 when Indiana became a state, some of Randolph became part of Indiana. These two man would seems to be good candidates for Owen and his "adopted" son Simon McCaffrey Jr. There are more than a few Indiana Territory records; however, we never found a single mention of either of these men.
James McCaffrey is recorded as receiving a 100 acre land grant on Sand Lick Fork of Crocus Creek, Cumberland, Kentucky on 24 Sep 1819. James and William McCaf* were first taxed in 1805, so they both seem to have been born about 1783. Alexander Buchanan Morgan, a contemporary of James, termed him a stone mason in notarized document concerning the Buchanan family. Although we have not found any other evidence of this assertion, we have found that William McCaffney was "bound out" to learn the stone mason trade by the 1801 Green County court. The 1820 Paoli, Cumberland Co., Kentucky census shows adjacent entries for James McCaffry and William Butler. On Dec 14 1798, the Kentucky General Assembly authorized the formation of Cumberland County. Part of the enabling legislation describing the Green and Cumberland boundary stated "...with the same to the wagon road leading from Colonel William Casey’s to Burksville at the head of Renicks Creek, thence eastwardly so as to leave the settlement of William Butler junior in Green County, thence to continue such a course as will just leave the settlement of Greasy Creek in Green...". In 1802, Adair County was created between Green and Cumberland, so in 1820, the homes of William Butler and James McCaffry would have been virtually on the boundary between Adair and Cumberland. William Butler Jr. was almost surely the son of William Butler, one of the original Green County settlers and the location of his home in 1798 was exactly the location of James McCaffree's Sand Lick Fork land grant of 1819. The headwaters of Sand Lick Fork are in southeastern Adair, just north of the intersection of Adair, Russell and Cumberland Counties. This small creek then tracks south, crosses the Adair/Cumberland border and empties into Crocus Creek.
This James McCaffree was the father of William McCaffree (b. 1818), Jane McCaffree (b. 1820), Simeon McCaffree (b. 1822) and James McCaffree (b. 1824). James' wife was Margaret Morgan and when James died before 1830, Margaret married William Butler Jr. who died before 1840. The images on the left and right are the only two surviving pages from the McCaffree's Bible. Please click on an image to enlarge it. James may have been responsible for the first entries, but it is obvious that Margaret added her Butler children. To us, it is very interesting that James was literate, a skill that was somewhat unusual for that time and place. Quakers where prominent in both Berks County, Pennsylvania and Loudoun County, Virginia and childhood literacy was one of the tenants of Quakerism. Since Owen and Simon Jr. McCaffree, James' granduncle and father, also seemed literate. we assume that this skill may have been initially acquired from the first wife of William McCaffrey, who may have been a Quaker and whose father may have had the given name of Owen. We have concluded that William Butler, the second husband of Margaret Morgan McCaffrey, was the person that first married Polly McCoffree in 1795 and was living beside James McCaffrey in 1820. Since Green County was formed from Lincoln in 1793 and both Cumberland County (1799) and Adair (1802) were formed from Green County, it is very likely that these people did not move around nearly as much as it may first appear. In fact, most of them may have not moved at all in this eight year period.
On the surface, the History of Butler and Bremer Counties, Iowa published in 1883 would not seem to be related to the discussion immediately above; however, this resource contains significant information concerning brothers Charles and Isaac McCaffree and their families. Charles was alleged to be the first permanent settler in Bremer. He arrived in Bremer in the spring of 1845 with his mother and two other people. Isaac joined Charles in the fall of the same year. Before coming to Bremer, Charles had lived in Lee County, Iowa and he had spent his earlier years as a boat hand on the Mississippi River. Both Charles and Isaac were married within a few years. Charles was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky in 1816 and Isaac was born in Indiana in 1823. Since this story seems to be related to the Kentucky McCaffrees, we have tried to work our way back to Indiana and Kentucky. The 1836 Des Moines County, Iowa census shows a William McCaffrey family with 3 males under 21, 2 males over 21, 2 females under 21 and 1 female over 21. De Moines borders on the Mississippi River and was created in 1835 from the Michigan Territory. Adjacent Lee County was created a year later and nearby Scott County was created in 1837. Lee and Scott also border the Mississippi River. The 1840 Scott County, Iowa census shows William McAffrey with one female 10/15, one male 15/20, two males & one female 20/30, one male & one female 50/60, These two censuses seem to correlate and also agree quite well with the William McCaf* found in the 1820 and 1830 censuses of Floyd County, Indiana. Unfortunately, the records of Floyd at the LDS FamilySearch site offer no help whatsoever with William McCaffrey; however, the 1850 Floyd census shows the family of James, 33, and Rachel Butler McCaffrey, 31 who were married in Floyd on 7 May 1839. The image at the right is from page 8 of the 7 January, 1893 edition of the New Albany (Indiana) Evening Tribune. From this short death record, we find that James was born about 1814 and that he moved from Iowa to New Albany before 1833; however, James recorded his birth place as Indiana in several Indiana censuses. This information correlates almost exactly with the above discussion of William McCaffrey and the Kentucky and Iowa McCaffrees. As usual, the source details are included in the Database,
John T. C. McAffrey of Blount, Monroe & McMinn Counties Tennessee
DNA Project participant has also
proved that a descendant of John T. C. McAffrey, born about 1795 in Kentucky or
"ocean" and first enumerated in the 1830 Monroe
Co., Tennessee census,
was also closely related to the above mentioned McCaffreys and McCaffrees. The
image on the right is from the
16 Sep 1863 Owensboro (Kentucky) Monitor and most likely refers to the same
person. The marriage license for John T. McAffry and Margaret A. Kile
was issued on 1 October 1818 in Blount County, Tennessee. John and family were
also enumerated in the 1850 McMinn County, Tennessee census and Kentucky was
named as his birth place at this time; however, in the 1860 Washington County,
Arkansas census, "ocean" was named as his birth place. John seemed to be
deceased by the 1870 census, so his birth place seems uncertain. Monroe, Blount
and McMinn are all in eastern Tennessee, so it seems possible that he was the
son of Terrence McAffry, who is alleged to have immigrated from Ireland in 1796,
signed a petition to incorporate Knoxville, Tennessee in 1799, married Patsye Clopton in Roane County, Tennessee in1805 and died in Knox County,
Tennessee in 1830. We do not have a known descendant of Terrence in the project,
but would welcome one. It is also is a distinct
possibility that he was very closely related to the McCaffrees of southern
Kentucky and the McCaffreys of central Tennessee and Loudoun County,
Virginia. More pointedly, it is quite possible that John was the
brother of James and/or William McCaffree of southern Kentucky. This
relationship is somewhat supported by the fact that John had a son Hugh and the
father of James was Hugh and assumed father of William was Hugh. We have
examined virtually all the available online Kentucky unindexed records for this
area of Kentucky, but have not seen a reference to John; however, a diligent
search of similar Tennessee records might provide more clues. As discussed
above, even seemly insignificant clues can been used to provide significant
Other Early American McCaf*
McCaffree descendants of both Charles (b. 1816) and Isaac McCaffree (b, 1823) mentioned above have
had yDNA tests, as well as, a male McCaffrey descendant of James V. McCaffrey (bc.1814), also mentioned
above and found in the 1850 Floyd County, Indiana census. All their yDNA results
match very closely and also match very closely with two descendants of James
McCaffrey of Loudoun County, Virginia. All of these matches seem to confirm our research
conclusions and seem to support our conclusion that James and William McCaffrey of
Loudoun were brothers and the sons of Hugh and Mary DeHart McCaffrey. Since
Loudoun, Augusta and Botetourt Counties are/were located in relatively close proximity, Cormack
McCafferty could be a relative of Hugh McCaffrey.
Augusta and Botetourt Counties, Virginia and Union County, South Carolina records provide
sufficient evidence to almost positively identify three of Cormack's sons as
John, Thomas and Hugh. Most of the few facts used with existing Cormack
McCafferty lineages come from Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in
Virginia, published in 1912 by Lyman Chalkley. This reference is a good
start; however, it does not include all the Augusta County records available at
FamilySearch or any of the records from the counties that surround Augusta.
lineages of John, Thomas and Hugh McCafferty have been rather well researched
and there seems to be quite a few living male McCafferty descendants of these
men. The yDNA from male McCafferty descendants of
John, Thomas and Hugh would almost surely help in proving their ancestors.
Also, the John McCafferty who was taxed in 1782 Washington Co., Virginia and probably later signed a Kentucky petition in 1784 may be related to Hugh McCaffrey and/or Cormack McCafferty. John died at age ninety in Ross County, Ohio and left eleven surviving children including David, John Jr., and Samuel McCafferty. The starting point for research is surely the biography found in Portrait and Biographical Record of Fayette, Pickaway and Madison Counties Ohio, published in 1892. The yDNA from a male McCafferty descendant of John McCafferty would probably help determine this relationship, if any.
Traditional Irish Naming Pattern
Caution - Caution - Caution
Using the pattern below for family history research should be treated as a clue and a clue only. This clue should be used in conjunction with other clues and evidence to posit a relationship. Not to do so can be very misleading and not every Irish family followed the pattern, especially toward the mid-1800s. Equally as important is the fact that most of the children that died at an early age were not recorded and infant mortality was quite high. This fact can completely mislead the unwary. An unexplained gap in the birth ages of children can be an indication of an child's death.
First son named for father's father.
Second son named for mother's father.
Third son named for father.
Fourth son named for father's eldest brother.
First daughter named for mother's mother.
Second daughter named for father's mother.
Third daughter named for mother.
Fourth daughter named for mother's eldest sister.
Second wife's oldest daughter named for the first wife.
The History of the McCaffrey Name
McCaffrey surname and all its variations were extremely rare in Colonial America; however, even as
late as 1850, Virginia had the highest
distribution (1 in 1000) of the McCaffrey, etc. surname in the United States. Reflecting the mass
Irish immigration of the mid-1800s, New York became the distribution leader by 1880.
McCaffrey seems to be the most common variation of the anglicized form of one of the oldest clans of Ireland. In his 1923 reference, Irish Names and Surnames, the Rev. Patrick Woulfe divides the clan origins into two "tribes". The first and most widely known was derived from Gadfraidh, the son of Donn Mor Maguire (1260 AD - 1302 AD). Near the middle of the 15th century, King William of England decreed that Irish surnames be anglicized. This led to the slow demise of Gaelic surnames and, over the years, this name became Mac Gadfraidh, M'Gafferie, MacGaffrey, MacCaffray, MacCaffrey, MacCaffery, Caffrey, etc. Bearers of this surname were part of a sept (sub clan, division) of Clan Maguire which ruled the Fermanagh region from about 1250 AD to 1607 AD. The second tribe was derived from Eachmharcach (horse rider), a given name often used by the O'Doherty Clan of Counties Donegal and Mayo. This name evolved into MacEachmharcaigh, M'Cafferchie, M'Cafferkie, MacCaffarky, MacCagherty, MacCaugherty, MacCafferty, MacCaverty, MacCaharty, MacCaherty, MacCarthy, MacCaffry, Cafferky, Cafferty, etc. In the mid 13th century, the Mac Caffrey seat of power in Fermanagh was established in Ballymacaffry, near the Maguire stronghold of Lisnaskea. The tiny townland (37 acres) of Ballymacaffry still exists within parish of Aghalurcher, in the barony of Magherastephana near the border of County Tyrone, just west of Fivemiletown and about thirteen miles due east of the much larger town of Enniskillen. Although Ballymacaffry is difficult, but not impossible, to find on any map, Enniskillen is the location of the Maguire Castle (Enniskillen Castle), a well known tourist destination constructed on the banks of River Erne in the 1420s by clan chieftain Hugh 'the Hospitable' Maguire. Over many years the castle was attacked by rival clans and English armies and virtually destroyed. On the right is the image of a circa 1550 the castle ground plan published in the 1919 edition of The History of Enniskillen with References to Some Manors in County Fermanagh by William Copeland Trimble. This book is a wonderful reference for anyone interested in Fermanagh and Enniskillen. It can be read and/or downloaded from Internet Archive. On the left below is an image of a British Library water color painting by soldier John Thomas depicting an 1596 siege of the castle. During the early years (circa 1610) of the Plantation of Ulster by King James I, the castle was restored by the new English owner, Captain William Cole. Today, the castle is over 400 years old and a photograph shows that the two towers added in 1610 now seem to define the landscape. Ancestors of both the Maguires and O'Dohertys were recorded by Irish historians well before the end of the first millennium. McCaffrey and variations was one of the most numerous surnames enumerated in the 1659 "census" of County Fermanagh. Fermanagh is especially interesting because, in 1834, John O'Donovan, one of Ireland's greatest scholars, historic topographers and genealogists, recorded his extensive research in this county. O'Donovan was particularly interested in the surnames of Maguire, O'Flanagan and McManus, the ancient families of Fermanagh; however, he made many references to other notable families, including McCaffrey. His collected papers have been published, edited and footnoted by John B. Cunningham as The Letters of John O'Donovan from Fermanagh.
McCaffreys, etc, also lived in Scotland. In our research, we have found that the inhabitants of Ireland and Scotland sometimes crossed the Irish Sea to find employment and to escape perpetual clan wars and persecution. So it would not be surprising to find the same biological McCaffreys, etc. in both Ireland and Scotland. There are a great many variations of the McCaffrey, etc. surname and more than a few legends have been put forth concerning the significance of certain variations. Some of the legends may be true but, before the latter part of the 19th century, literacy was uncommon for the vast majority of people, so it was up to a clerk, priest, minister, tax recorder, census taker, etc. to make the spelling determination. In fact, our yDNA project has proved that contemporary families bearing the McCaffrey, McCaffree, McAffrey, McCafferty and Caffrey surnames are biologically related.
McCaffrey Surname Variations
As can be seen from the synopsis above, the subject surname was recorded
in many variations, even when it related to the same person. This was not an
unusual occurrence and happened with many surnames.
Some of the surname variations we have
encountered: McCaffrey, McCaffery, McCaffary, McCofrey, McCoffrey, McCaffree,
McCoffery, McCoffry, McCoffree, McCafferty, McKaffordy, McAfferty, McCaferty, McCaforey,
McAffery, McAffrey, McCafrey, McCaffity, McCafry, McKaffry, McAfrey, McCaffry, McKafrey, McCaffey, Mecaffrey, Macaforey, McCafney,
McCuffrey and others. When we first began our
research on this family, we skipped over many references to McCafferty. This was
a newbie mistake.
Since only a small percentage of our early American ancestors were literate, it was left to clerks, ministers, priests, census enumerators, tax collectors and others to hand record on paper the name that they had just heard spoken. These literate recorders came from many linguist, religious and cultural backgrounds (e.g. English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, Dutch, French and others). Often, the backgrounds of the illiterate person and the recorder differed dramatically, but the recorder wrote the name, in English, as he or she heard it. At that time there was no "right" was to spell the name of an illiterate person, since they did not know how to spell their own names. It was not until the later part of the 19th century that most, but not nearly all, of Americans could spell their name. As literacy became more widespread, some closely related family branches choose different spellings of their surname. We have even seen brothers chose different surname spellings. For the researcher, this situation has been compounded by the transcription process. Virtually all old documents were originally hand written and many of these documents are very difficult to read, even by experienced transcribers. By comparing the images of original documents with the transcriptions of these documents, we have found many very obvious transcription errors and many, many records that have ambiguous names. The very useful process of recopying and indexing records adds another level of errors. In fact, every time that names (or any data) are copied, errors occur. Finally, the Soundex search system will identify many variations of a surname, but not nearly all of those that we should be interested in (e.g. McCaffrey vs McAffrey). So we are left with genetically related 21st century family branches with different surname spellings. In other words, we believe that it is almost a certainty that there are rather closely related living people with completely different spelling variations of McCaffrey, etc. We also believe that applying 21st century literacy standards to older records is completely inappropriate and unproductive. As family historians, we must work with the records that are available and we must make assumptions and draw conclusions based on these records. When it relates to early American records, we can never have too much evidence, but most of the time we have only meager or circumstantial evidence. Sometimes, in our zeal to extend our lineage, we grasp at exceedingly short straws.
McCaffrey yDNA Project
Including McCaffery, McCaffree, McCafferty, McAffrey, Caffrey & all other variations
I now have about a dozen small autosomal DNA (atDNA) matches with McCaffrey,
McCaffery, McCaffree, McCafferty and Caffrey descendants that have posted their lineages
to Ancestry.com. The size of these matching atDNA segments indicates that we
have a common ancestor at least 5/6 generations in the past. I have briefly discussed the
progenitors of most of these lineages in the sections above, especially the
"Other Early American McCaffreys, etc." section and I have speculated that they
are were likely related to the McCaffreys of Loudoun Co., Virginia. While I have
been extremely fortunate to uncover definitive documentation concerning the
Loudoun McCaffreys, only a few recorded details have been discovered about the
other early progenitors, however, this has not stopped some from imagining
extended lineages for these people. Because Ancestry.com does not provide the
exact chromosomal detail (chromosome number and segment position) needed to
compare these matching segments, all I can say with certainty is that these
people are related to me. On average, we inherit about 50% of our atDNA from
each of our parents; however, this amount can vary dramatically on an individual basis.
Since our number of ancestors doubles with each generation (2,4,8,16,32,64,
etc.), we all have 32 ancestors at our 3rd great-grandparent level and 64
ancestors at our 4th great-grandparent level. Since it is possible to inherit
atDNA from any or all of them and since few researchers have positively
identified all of their ancestors at these levels, it is very difficult for
genetic experts and impossible for the average family historian to prove
a Common Ancestor using atDNA. In my experience, it is not uncommon to discover
3/4/5/6 Common Ancestors when two well developed lineages are compared. More
pointedly, a missing ancestor in either or both of the lineages could be the Common Ancestor
that I share with another person.
To be perfectly clear: an atDNA (Ancestry.com DNA test) match with a person that has a matching surname
in their lineage does not prove that someone with the matching surname is a
Common Ancestor, so it is quite possible that any or all of my matches might be related to me
through Common Ancestors that are not McCaffreys, etc. It is almost inconceivable to me is that Ancestry.com has shown no inclination
at all with respect to changing their policy of withholding this valuable data;
however, there an even better way to investigate these connections and others.
yDNA is passed from father to son with little or no change, virtually forever.
So a male receives his yDNA from only one person; his father. Since the vast
majority of children have their father's surnames, yDNA projects are associated
with family surnames. I am the creator and one of the co-administrators of the
Woody DNA Project.
This is a successful yDNA project with about fifty participants. For a complete
discussion of yDNA testing,
In my experience, there has been very little of interest in the McCaffreys, etc. that had their North American roots before the 19th century. This may be because there are few living McCaffreys, etc. that suspect such a lineage. The ancestors of the vast majority of present day North American McCaffreys, etc. immigrated during the mid-1800s, but even these folks do not seem interested in the potential of yDNA. Currently, FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) has almost 6,500 registered DNA Projects, but not one surname project devoted to any version of McCaffrey, etc. In the past, I have resisted an attempt at establishing a McCaffrey, McCaffery, McCaffree, McCafferty, McAffrey, etc. DNA Project, but my abovementioned atDNA matches have encouraged me to do so. A useful surname (yDNA) project requires more than just yDNA results: It requires that the lineages of the participants be linked to their yDNA results. A successful surname project requires a very large dose of patience, as well as, a broad and long term view of family history research; however, the results can be very interesting, useful and rewarding. I would be delighted to establish a project partnership with anyone that has an genuine interest and is willing to assist in recruiting male McCaffrey, etc. participants for the project.
The McCaffrey DNA Project now has twenty-five official participants. The yDNA of some of these men prove, beyond any doubt, that the Loudoun County, Virginia McCaffreys were related to contemporary men with the surnames of McCafferty and McCaffree. In particular, the McCaffrees, first recorded in late 18th century Kentucky were extremely close relatives of the Loudoun McCaffreys.
The project has also revealed that Abraham McCafferty, born about 1755 in Pennsylvania and found in the early 1800 Indiana censuses, was related to the above mentioned McCaffreys and McCaffrees; however, the Genetic Distance (GD) involved in the matches indicates that the Common Ancestor (CA) of these males existed long before these men came to America.
We have also have evidence that a contemporary McCaffrey and a McCaffery are related to a contemporary Caffrey, so we have added the Caffrey surname to our banner lists.
Click here to order a yDNA37 kit. When you order your kit using this link, you will be automatically enrolled in the project.
"A List of Deported Convicts and Vagabonds 1737-1743", Journals of the Irish House of Commons (Online: Ulster Ancestry)
An Atlas of Lawrence County, Ohio, D. J. Lake & Co., Philadelphia, 1887
Belmont County History, Ohio Extension Homemakers, St. Clairesville, Ohio, 1988
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers, GPC, Baltimore, 1988
Caldwell, J. A. History of Belmont & Jefferson Counties, Historical Publishing Company, Wheeling, West Virginia, 1880
Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Mary S. Lockwood, 1912
Chiarito, Marian D. & Pendergast, James H. Marriages of Halifax County, Virginia 1801-1831, Clarkton Press, Nathalie, Virginia
Civil War Pension Record of William Sullivan McCaffrey, National Archives, File No. 205853
"Clan Macfie Surnames", Clan Macfie (Online: Clan Macfie)
Cochran, Wes. Belmont County Ohio Marriages, self published, 1946 (LDS film #317290)
Cook, Bettie Cummings. Lincoln County, Kentucky Records VIII, Cook Publications, Evansville, Indiana
"Donegal Heath Money Rolls - 1663", Free Genealogy Pages (Online: Ulster Ancestry)
Duncan, Patricia B. Index to Loudoun County, Virginia Personal Property Taxes 1782-1850, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2004
Duncan, Patricia B. Loudoun County, Virginia Order Books A-I, 1757-1786, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2007
Fermanagh 1659 Census Report (Online: County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland GenWeb)
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Green County, Kentucky Taxpayers 1795-1799, TLC Genealogy, Miami Beach, Florida
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(Online: OpenStreetMap - Ireland)
Jewell, Aurelia M. Loudoun County Marriage Bonds 1751-1880, Virginia Book Company, Berryville, Virginia
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(Please send me your McCaffrey descendant photos)
Images of descendants of Bailey & Lydia Clark McCaffrey of Lawrence Co., Ohio
Images of descendants of Robert McCaffrey of Wilson Co., Tennessee
Rachel McCaffrey Forrest of Adams Co., Illinois
The Origin and Early
History of the McCaffrey Clan
Ireland Map - 1704
Modern Ireland County Map
Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet
West Virginia Vital Records
LDS FamilySearch - Records & Catalog
(Interpreting Colonial Records of Virginia & North Carolina)
5-Star Web Sites
McCaffrey Descendant Images
(Please send me your McCaffrey descendant photos)
Images of descendants of Bailey & Lydia Clark McCaffrey of Lawrence Co., Ohio
Images of descendants of Robert McCaffrey of Wilson Co., Tennessee
Rachel McCaffrey Forrest of Adams Co., Illinois
The Origin and Early
History of the McCaffrey Clan
Ireland Map - 1704
Modern Ireland County Map
Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet
West Virginia Vital Records
LDS FamilySearch - Records & Catalog
The original focus of our research was on the McCaffreys of Lawrence County, Ohio; however, this focus has been expanded to include all of the descendants of Hugh and Mary DeHart McCaffrey. We invite other researchers to share information and images pertaining to this family line. We will gladly acknowledge your contributions and/or provide links to your online data. Nearly all the research and conclusions associated with early days of brothers James and William McCaffrey of Loudoun County, Virginia is our own. We have verified most, but not all, of the data provided by other researchers. In creating McCaffrey Family Roots and the associated online database, one of our objectives was to provide a comprehensive, documented resource for those doing research on the descendants of the McCaffreys of Loudoun County. Hopefully, this approach will provide a base that other researchers of this line will enhance with their contributions. For much of this information, we are indebted to the following individuals, institutions and organizations:
Kevin Ahearn, Sharon Sue Altice, Margaret Anders, Rhonda Barbee, Marvin Beatty, Dan Bennett, James W. Blankenship, Stacy Blanton, Daniel Lynn Bolin, Linda M. Bombaci, Dorothy Bonham, Charles David Brammer, Frances Kay Brown, Dee Ann Buck, Charmaine Burgin, Bonnie Burkhardt, Debbie Carnes, Deana Carter-Smith, Lyman Chalkley, Marian D. Chiarito, Wes Cochran, Kim Conley, Bettie C. & Michael L. Cook, Heidi Cornell, Natalie Cottrill, Lynn McCaffrey Cox, Dorothy Davis, Richard A. Dew, Patricia B. Duncan, Carl Dunn, Wanda Edwards, Charles J. Ernst, Sandra McCaffree Flickinger, Tom W. Garrett, Nancy Gates, Peggy Goodwin, John H. Gwathmey, Leroy Haas, Cheryl Harley, Marty Hiatt, Tracy Hancock, Raymond H. Honaker, Tim Hoot, Thomas Hopper, Richard F. Hunsinger, Ron Hunter, Larry Jacobson, Aurelia M. Jewell, Stella Marie Johnson, Phyllis Murnahan Jeffers, Ryan Kasler, Nancy Ann Kelly, David Kennedy, Urban Ewing Kennedy, Sharon Kouns, David Leggett, Maxine Lemke, Judith M. Llamas, Ross Love, Kathy Hill Lynch, Debbie McCaffrey Markel, Stephanie Martinez, Roseann Masavage, Sharon Mason, Dr. Mary K. McCaffree, John D. McCaffrey, John Patrick McCaffrey, Melissa Clements McCaffrey, Oliver Daniel McCaffrey, Rosemary Spencer McCaffrey, Randall McCaffry, Judy A. McClarnon, Joseph Neal McDaniel, Charles Edward McGinnis, Gwendolyn McCaffrey McReynolds, Angie Millar, Alexander Buchanan Morgan, Shannon Moore, Jerry Mower, Jane Mucha, Ray Oehler, John Ott, Connie Lord Paben, Mary Lou Parker, Thomas E. Partlow, James H. Pendergast, Merry Ann Pierson, Marla Price, Karen Wallace Roberts, Karen Jeanine Brannon Robinson, Craig Robert Scott, Stella Marie Johnson Sigler, Jane Smoot, Jeannine Southers, Ruth & Sam Sparacio, Chris Staats, Connie McCafferty Strandberg, Diane St. James, Sarah Sweeney, Ben Swett, Charles Blair Tavenner, Bill Tucker, Jean Turner, Allen Dale Wallace, Cristia McAdams Warren, Mary Alice Wertz, Edythe Rucker Whitley, Kelsey J. Williams, Moria Wolfinger, Louise McCaffrey Woody, Barbara Wright, Charles C. Yates, the staff of the LDS Family History Centers in Decatur, Alabama, Grand Rapids Michigan, Green Tree, Pennsylvania and Naperville, Illinois, the staff of the Chicago Branch of the National Archives, the staff of the Wheaton Library Genealogy Department, Wheaton, Illinois, the staff of the Briggs Lawrence County Library Genealogy Department, Ironton, Ohio, the staff of the Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, Virginia, the staff of the Monroe County Library, Woodfield, Ohio, the staff of the Belmont County Library, St. Clairsville, Ohio, the staff of the Charlotte County Library, Port Charlotte, Florida, the staff of the Barnesville Library, Barnesville, Ohio, the staff of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, Knoxville, Tennessee, the Belmont, Noble, Morgan and Lawrence County Chapters of the Ohio Genealogical Society and the staff of Newberry Library of Chicago. Any omissions are unintentional.
We are especially grateful to the transcribers of old documents. This is a very difficult task and every serious researcher should try their hand at transcription. Copies of original census records are a good place to start. Most of the authors of the transcriptions that I have used are included in the above list. We are also very appreciative of the decision of the administrators of FamilySearch.org to make many more of the images of original public records available to the general public. In this regard, the efforts of those volunteers that do the laborious and patience straining job of indexing many of these records is also acknowledged and appreciated.
Click here to email the author your comments, additions & corrections.
1990 McCaffrey Surname Distribution
Click for larger image
1990 U.S. Census: Surname - Population Frequency - Frequency Rank
Smith - 1.006% - 1
McCaffrey - .003% - 3,874
McCafferty - .002% - 5,609
Caffrey - .001% - 13096
McCaffery - .001% - 13,988
Cafferty - .001% - 23173
McAferty - less than .001% - 42925
Caffery - less than .001% - 48049
McCaffity - less than .001% - 62,011
McCaffree - less than .001% - 81,360
All other variations - less than .001% - greater than 88,799
Revised 6 Feb 2022